Avoid Overeating to Ensure a Healthier Holiday Season

Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

Holiday celebrations are a tempting trap. The holiday table overflows with food that’s as delicious as it can be challenging for those with health risks or chronic illnesses.

If you suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol, heart or kidney disease, are overweight, or have any other illness about which your doctor has warned you to “watch what you eat,” then eat smart.

Eat like the Queen of England. Queen Elizabeth II never eats at a State dinner. She does this for protocol. For those with health issues, having a light meal or appetizer before heading out to the party will help curb your cravings. This also goes for diabetics. Once at the party, sip water or a diet beverage before the holiday meal (those with kidney issues should consult their physician first).

Choose heart- and health-friendly substitutes. If you’re preparing the meal, use egg whites, low-fat sour cream and apple sauce. Instead of sugar, use flavorful spice substitutes like vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg. It’ll taste just as good – maybe even better - and will be heart-healthier.

Look for hidden dangers. Before the party, ask the host what will be on the menu. Then research the dishes for risky ingredients, like carbohydrates, protein, potassium, phosphorus or sodium. Even nuts or other ingredients can trigger a food allergy. Once there, break out the smartphone to check any surprise dishes. If the menu doesn’t match your dietary needs, bring your own meal. The host shouldn’t be offended.

Get moving. The sedentary tradition of relaxing in the comfy sofa or chair after the meal to watch football can be unhealthy. Start a new tradition. Take a walk. Play horseshoes. Power up the Wii or toss a football with the kids or grandkids.

Don't assume it's indigestion. The holidays are peak season for indigestion, acid reflux – and heart attacks. Holiday sweets, alcohol and big meals can trigger acid reflux and chest pain. Yet, someone in the early stages of a heart attack might reach for the antacids. Know the warning signs.

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